The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Chapter 3 Programme Development, Approval, Planning and Design

3.1 Programme Development and Approval

3.1.1 General Procedures

The University develops new programmes in line with the latest academic developments and in order to meet evolving societal needs.

Plans for new programmes (including overhauling of existing programmes) to be funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC) are included in each Planning Exercise Proposal (PEP) submitted to UGC every few years, according to the UGC’s schedule. The University’s two-pronged planning procedure is as follows:

Department Boards propose both new Ug and Pg programmes to their respective Faculty Boards. Proposals should contain details such as rationale, learning outcomes, curriculum design, and study scheme. Approved proposals are then submitted to the SAPC (chaired by the Provost), and finally to the Senate (chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and President) for approval; Pg programme proposals also need to be vetted by the GCExCo. The Senate reviews each proposal’s academic standards and quality. Proposals considered by the Senate are included in the PEP submitted to the UGC.

Appendix 3-1 describes the academic approval process for introducing new programmes of study at Ug and Pg levels; information about introducing and updating Ug programmes and courses is at Appendix 3-2, which is also available on the T&L website; whereas Appendix 3-3 contains relevant information about the approval of new Pg programmes.

3.1.2 Major Considerations in New Programme Planning

There are three major considerations in new programme planning.

3.1.3 Resource Allocation in Relation to New Programmes

Resource allocation to Departments, via corresponding Faculties, is made through one-line budgets. The teaching component for a Department’s budget is determined by the number of students in each of the Department’s major, elective, and publicly funded Pg programme, as well as the Department’s disciplinary unit cost. The Resource Allocation Committee (RAC) fine-tunes Ug intake annually, and makes larger adjustments every few years in the PEP. The University Planning Office (UPO) allocates RPg and TPg student numbers based on a list of criteria updated annually and approved by the RAC, while the government determines UGC-funded TPg numbers.

3.2 Programme and Course Planning: Details

As a general principle, programmes are designed along the graduate attributes, whereas courses are designed according to programme-level learning outcomes.

The University’s IF (see Section 2.4) is guided by an OBA (see Section 2.1) to T&L. A model that guides the development of programmes, courses and learning activities alike (Appendix 3-4) has been developed accordingly. It comprises five key interlocking elements: desired learning outcomes, content, learning activities, assessment and feedback, which are incorporated into procedures for course development, course review, programme development and programme review. Feedback is central because it informs reflection upon practice.

The expected graduate attributes, defined in the University’s Strategic Plan (2006), drove the design of the four-year Ug curriculum launched in 2012 (see Section 2.2). The University reviews the expected graduate attributes from time to time with reference to students’ learning needs and University development. Based on the University’s Strategic Plan 2021-2025 (CUHK 2025), the set of graduate attributes has been updated with an emphasis on “global readiness”, “crossing knowledge boundaries” and “contributions to society”. Well- defined strategic goals for Pg programmes also exist; graduates of Pg programmes are expected to have acquired a specific set of attributes upon completion of their studies. Details of the strategic goals and graduate attributes are available in the Code of Practice for Taught Postgraduate Studies (Appendix 2-9) and Code of Practice for Research Postgraduate Studies (Appendix 2-11) respectively.

A programme/ course planning document is prepared whenever a new programme/ course is launched, or when major changes are proposed. Both programme- and course-planning documents should include a specification of (i) expected learning outcomes, (ii) subject content, (iii) intended learning activities, (iv) assessment scheme, and (v) intended channels to collect feedback for evaluation. Suggested guides are shown in the IF for Undergraduate Programmes (Appendix 2-18), the IF for Taught Postgraduate Programmes (Appendix 2-19), the guidelines and procedures on the introduction and revision for Pg programmes/ courses (Appendix 3-3) and the Guide for Programme Planning and Guide for Course Planning (Appendix 3-2).

In line with the development workflow for new programmes (see Section 3.1), well-defined procedures and schedules are currently in place for Pg programmes as well. Details are available in the Code of Practice for Taught Postgraduate Studies (Appendix 2-9), Code of Practice for Research Postgraduate Studies (Appendix 2-11), and the guidelines and procedures regarding Pg programmes (Appendix 3-3).

3.3 Programme and Course Documentation

Proposals for introducing a new Ug programme, including a minor programme, must contain key information as listed in the Guide for Programme Planning and Guide for Course Planning in Appendix 3-2. Proposals should be made via the Programme Proposal Warehouse (PPW), which provides a uniform template and platform for the preparation, submission and archival of Ug programmes, and for presentation to different academic bodies for endorsement/ approval. The PPW platform contains not only basic information (programme title, degree, years of study, offering department etc.) and structure (admission year, type, total number of units and stream etc.) of individual programmes, but also their outcomes statements, implications for learning activities and implications for assessment. Appendix 3-5 shows the PPW template.

Proposals for new Ug programmes are submitted to the following bodies for endorsement and approval:

Faculties/ Divisions planning to submit new Pg programme proposals must follow the guidelines (Appendix 3-3) and adopt the respective proposal template (Appendix 3-6).

Department/ Programme Boards, and the Faculty Boards are vested with the authority as delegated by the Senate to endorse and approve proposals for new courses and revisions of existing courses. Introduction of and revision to courses of the University Core Requirements are also subject to the endorsement of relevant overseeing committees (Table 2-1 of Chapter 2). See also Section 4.3.

3.4 Policy Documents

The following policy documents provide further details in relation to programme and course planning: